Jul 30, 2011 7:00pm EDT
from afghanistan about america's longest war and other matters. >> nato forces in afghanistan have a new commander. general david petraeus is on the way home. he had been expected to serve longer but has been recalled to head the cia. the force he is leaving behind is now being quicker than he recommended. the insurgency has shown itself capable of hitting back with the assassinations and spectacular attacks. nato insists that they're winning. i asked the general what the possible grounds for optimism could be. >> what we have seen now is developing into a trend. in fact, this past week, yet again the level of insurgent attacks was lower, over 20% lower than the level of attacks in the same week last year. that makes nine of the last 13 weeks in which this has taken place in which the levels of attacks are lower than the corresponding time last year. that is completely contrary to what the intelligence professionals predicted. >> do you think that the strategic level, the death of bin laden, has created any new political possibilities or check political momentum or is it not possib
Jul 11, 2011 11:00pm EDT
imagine getting there in a variety of ways. you count savings from withdrawal of troops, from afghanistan and from iraq. you have some other defense cuts can, you have a whole bunch of discretionary cuts. you do some little things on mandatory programs that are not social security or medicare. and so then the deal gets done and some ofhese big questions on medicare and taxes get saved for the 2012 campaign. on the other hand, whenou read quotes which you occasionally read, from congressional staffers, republican staff are saying, you know, ybe a showdown in whiche don't get this deal isn't the worst thing. that does make you wonder how many people within congress think that actually no deal would be better than a deal. and my colleague david brooks argues that that would be very bad for the republicans politically. i'm not so sure about that. there is only one president and there's only one ecomy and i think there's a chance that chaos and no deal actually hurts the white house and to the extent that the republicans agree with that, then we could be in for a really dicey couple of months.